Automation Now: News and Info for Users of Motion Control

Yaskawa Application Overview: Grinder

Posted September 10, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Click here for the full "Application Overview: Grinder" from Yaskawa.

Heavy cutting is done at slow speed. With a constant wheel pressure on the material to be shaped, the pounds/minute of material removed, or work done, varies with the wheel speed. This is the constant torque part of the profile. After the heavy cutting is complete, a polishing (light cutting) operation is performed. A high speed, lighter wheel-to-material pressure is maintained; therefore, less material in pounds/minute is removed. This is the constant horsepower part of the load profile.

Yaskawa AC drives have features that save energy, which allows the motor to run at optimal efficiency and precision when performing light grinding. Energy Saving Mode also reduces motor noise and stabilizes the load, perfecting the finishing process. Yaskawa AC drives can automatically detect changes to the amount of torque required during the shaping and finishing phases using Torque Detection. This feedback enables the drive to quickly detect changes as the grinding stone dulls or clogs. This can lead to significant cost savings by prolonging the life of grinding stones.

Innovative-IDM is your #1 Yaskawa supplier. Call us today at 877.906.2100 or send us an email at

Read More

Top 5 Reasons Allen-Bradley May Not Be Your Best Application Solution

Posted September 4, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Be sure to visit our knowledge Center -

Hi, my name is Jack Marsh with Innovative IDM. Today I’d like to talk a little bit about Allen Bradley and maybe perhaps why it’s not always the best solution for your application. Allen Bradley makes fine products, and they are quality products, and they’ve got a very broad offering, but they are not always the perfect solution for every application. We’ve really identified 5 reasons why that’s the case.

Allen Bradley has a very successful top down marketing approach and convinced large end users in specific market segments to standardize on their products. And then those end users can dictate to the machine builders that they go to that Allen Bradley products is going to be used in their machines. But that allows Allen Bradley to charge more for their hardware and software. They don’t have to be competitive with the market if their users are dictating their products are going to be used in the machines. There’s also the support cost. If you don’t have a service agreement, a purchase order, or a credit card handy when you call Allen Bradley for factory support, you’re going to be out of luck. So you better have those things in mind when you call to get support from them.

Then, all of their software is sold on an a la carte basis. So say for example you purchase the PLC programming software then say later on down the road you find that you need to configure some network communications, or perhaps you want to simulate the PLC and HMI interactions without having the hardware present. That network communication suite is an additional product you’re going to have to purchase. The simulation package is an additional product you’re going to have to purchase. Wherein a lot of other manufacturers, those functions are built in to the software you buy for the programming.

Another thing Allen Bradley does that allows them to offer a very broad product line without incurring high development cost is to private label products from other manufacturers, but the downside of that is there is not a consistent look and feel across the product line. So a small ac drive for example might program and configure completely differently than the large variable frequency drives from Allen Bradley. And if one of the manufacturers that they're private labeling from happens to have a discontinuation or product change, there are ramifications for Allen Bradley products that are beyond their control. There might not be a simple replacement for that.

And then the last thing to consider is the international support. While Allen Bradley has a very large market share in the U.S., their presence in Europe and Asia is not nearly as large. So if you’re building machines for the overseas market and you’re going to need support after it’s installed, that might be an issue.

If you’d like to research some of the options to Allen Bradley such as Omron, Yaskawa, Parker, or Wago, please visit our website at and remember Innovative IDM is the home of the legendary customer experience.

Read More

5 Most Common Reasons an AC Drive Ends Up Needing Repair

Posted August 28, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Be sure to visit our knowledge Center -

Hi, I’m Lonnie Muse with Innovative IDM. I'm going to talk a little bit about AC drives this morning. These things are wonderful. They have come into being, they've lasted a long time, and there’s a real great need for them in our plants. But they are put into some places that have difficult environments. So I want to kind of talk about the AC drive failures.

Maybe how to mitigate it a little bit and what causes them. The biggest cause is not the product itself but the things that surround it. Heat is the biggest issue. It does generate a little bit of heat. It adds to the environment that's outside the ambient temperature. All the other products in the panel that are creating heat add to the source. If we don’t get that heat out of there or cool it down, overtime this will die. Especially if it’s a dusty environment or other airborne things that are attracted to the fans in the back of the drive aren’t cleaned out. Or the fan of the AC drive stops, not pulling the air through.

The biggest thing is heat, we need to mitigate that. The next thing is power spikes that come through. Whether it’s caused by machines upstream, lighting, the power company, or somebody hitting a power pole outside, power spikes can kill these drives rather quickly. So we need to take steps to eliminate some of that or at least reduce it. One of the steps could be putting a reactor in front of the drive. That will help keep the power spikes from coming in and damaging the drive.

Another area where a drive fails is because of the other end that is attached to the motor. If the motor is not taken care of or if the bearings aren’t greased, there are issues that a motor – and this is related to heat as well – can short out. And if it shorts, normally it’s going to take the drive as well. It’s going to short internally, draw too much current, and will damage the drive. Check the motors.

The next one is age. The mean time between failure for these typical drives here is 28 years. But I guarantee you if you don’t do things ahead of time and keep it working when it gets to 10 years, 15 years, 20 years we’re going to start having failure. Can you imagine 20 years old and still running? Some of us don’t drive cars that old. Age can affect things. Things deteriorate, change over time, and eventually there’s failure.

The largest one and usually it happens on the front end when a drive is being installed is it’s installed incorrectly. What I have seen in my experience, customers put the input power on the power leads of the drive which just tears it up. It fails. We have 24 volts for the inputs and outputs and we'll put 110 on it. So sometimes it’s installation driven. Not the product itself just improper installation.

If you’d like to know more about this, come see us at We’ve got white papers, we’ve got products, we’ve got technical expertise that can help. After all we're the home of legendary customer experience.

Read More

The Advantages of Using Linear Servo Motors

Posted August 21, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Be sure to visit our knowledge Center -

Hi, my name is Jack Marsh with Innovative IDM. Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the advantages of linear servo motors. A lot of people have never even heard of a linear motor and don’t know that that is. Well, a linear motor is the same thing as a rotary motor that’s cut and then rolled. There’s as many types of linear motors as there are rotary motors. The physics are the same, just the mechanical arrangement of the parts are a little different.

For example, linear motors you've probably experienced multiple times every day in your life. If you look at audio speakers, the motor that moves the speaker back and forth and generates vibrations is a linear motor. Just a different kind of linear motor than is typically used in industrial applications.

For example, if you take this rotary motor, slice it, and unroll it, you’re going to have windings on a part that can move back and forth over the top of a piece of steel that has magnets on it. That is a direct drive thrust producing device that eliminates all the mechanical components in the drive train that would ordinarily take this spinning motor shaft and translate that into linear motion and linear force.

By eliminating all those mechanical components, you eliminate all the wear in the drive train, the back lash, inaccuracies – all the things that degrade the performance of your positioning system.

So if you need micron level precision, extremely low friction motion, very high accuracy and reliability, or very high accelerations and velocities, a linear motor might be the perfect solution for you. What you don’t get is the mechanical advantage of say a gear box that you could put on the end of a rotary motor to multiply the torque output of the motor. So until someone invents the linear equivalent of that, maybe a lever box, we are stuck with the direct drive nature of the linear motor. And if you need more force, the cost goes up because you have to buy a larger motor. You can’t put a mechanical advantage device on it. But with that comes all of the advantages of speed and precision a linear motor can provide.

If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at and remember Innovative IDM is the home of the legendary customer experience.

Read More

Aluminum Extrusions Collateral Damage

Posted August 19, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Aluminum Extrusion, Blog

Parker Industrial Profile Systems recognizes Innovative-IDM as one of its regional design centers.

The result is that we design, cut and assemble a LOT of extruded aluminum products.

The collateral damage to all that fell on Jimmy Taylor, who is left to deal with the now-empty 20-foot heavy duty cardboard boxes in which the raw aluminum was shipped from Parker.

Sweet Jimmy and a SAWZALL in 100-degree weather took care of the problem.



Read More

Massive Control Panel in Dallas Shop

Posted August 16, 2019 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

Look at this thing!  Built with love by our own Jessi Bratcher in the Dallas UL508A Panel Shop.  Great job, Jessi, keeping it Legendary for our panel customers.

Our scale of operation and shop efficiencies mean we many times can build panels in less time and for less cost than our customers can do for themselves.  We can build to your prints, or help you design your control panel. Try us!

Read More